911 Tasting Notes

drank Rooibos Green by Lupicia
911 tasting notes

A while back, Lupicia sent out Jardin Sauvage, a flavored green rooibos, and I enjoyed it so I became… intrigued by the thought of green rooibos. So when I was placing my Lupicia order, I put in a bag of this to try it out.

Dry it smells a bit like lemongrass. Not sure why or if it is actually supposed to, but that’s what I get from it. Brewed up, there is a malty, bright smell to it. I’m not getting any of the sour woodsy bit that I associate with rooibos normally and that makes me happy.

Tasting it, it tastes a bit malty/starchy/thick. It actually reminds me of some of the black teas I got from the London Tea Room. A little Assam, a little Darleeling. It’s soft though. Flavorful but not aggressive. Solid, strong, quiet. There’s also a little bit of sweetness at the end. A faint hint of a chamomile- or perhaps stevia-like sweetness. No dryness at the end, just a faint hint of sweet. The similarity to Assam, the malty taste and feel, goes away as it cools making it taste faintly of Darjeeling.

This tastes like a good afternoon black tea. But it’s herbal. That sort of messes with my head but I kind of love it. I think if this were a black tea, it’d be a little too mild for me. I prefer my black teas to be good morning teas. But for this being caffeine-free, that makes it a nighttime tea for me and the milder black tea taste fits that.

I have a feeling this is a rooibos I am going to enjoy. The husband, on the other hand, isn’t as much of a fan. He felt it was too light but he picked up on the Darjeeling similarity, asking if this was the muscat tea I’d ordered. He said it was drinkable but not something he’d ask for by name. On the other hand, I think this will work nicely to fill my tea craving at night when I really don’t need additional caffeine.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Off to rummage through my stash to see if I have some green rooibos…


oh cool! i’ve been curious about the differences between the green and red rooibos. one more tea to try. :)


I really liked this one. The second steep made me think a little more of normal rooibos (and a bit of chamomile) so the first steep was definitely my favorite.

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My tea experience tonight has been brought to you by takgoti and sophistre. Takgoti because she said this smelled like turkey and I’m morbidly curious about that and sophistre because her Ryokucha log made me think of my trip to the Daibutsu in Kamakura where I picked up my first yunomi, so that’s what I’m drinking this out of. A Chinese tea out of Japanese tea cup. I don’t get kicked out of the tea lovers club for this, right?

So, trying to find the turkey smell is first. I’m sniffing but I don’t really find it. Part of me is sad, part of me is thankful. Part of me goes – I can smell briney and buttery when I’m smelling from my nose not in the cup and I can see how that could translate to turkey… or roasted chicken. But this whole sniffing for turkey thing has lead to a lot more sniffing than I’d usually do so my mouth is watering a bit. Paying attention to this tea, it smells really nice. I’ve already mentioned a little salt and butter smell going on, but when I get closer there’s a pretty vegetal smell, too. Not like boiled vegetables but not raw either. Just sweet and green.

Okay, this is really enjoyable tea. There’s a little salt-like tingle on the tip of my tongue that I seem to get from most Chinese greens. Actually, I take that back – most Chinese greens give me a big salt taste. The fact that this is slight makes it enjoyable, not unpleasant. The taste is sweet and green and a little salty and maybe nutty. The tea is not delicate tasting but it’s not overpowering either. Hearty but soft maybe? Anyway, I like it.

I have a feeling if I had last night’s Dragonwell after this one instead of before, it wouldn’t have fared as well as it did. This one is yummy.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Bedtime by Yogi
911 tasting notes

My mom gave me a couple of bags of this because apparently I need to relax. So I thought I’d try it out tonight as I can feel the stress building. It smells like sweet, mint and chamomile. I know sweet isn’t technically a smell but it is so work with me here.

I really don’t know what to think of the taste. It tastes like it has been sweetened with honey, but there is something in the tea that burns at the very back of my throat. Like the post-vomit kind of burning. And yeah, that’s fairly unpleasant. Really hope that goes away soon. As I start to swallow, if feels like the tea is going to be bitter, so I wince. But it isn’t bitter – instead I get the honey/chamomile flavor. Then the sweet as I hold the tea in my mouth. As I swallow I feel a hint of the freshness of mint. After I finish my swallow, I feel the post-vomit burn.

Okay, I’m really trying to ignore the burning feeling. And I’m either doing pretty good at ignoring or it’s fading a little as the tea cools a bit. It doesn’t feel exactly pleasant but it no longer feels like I just finished yurking. The tea taste isn’t that bad, but there’s this weird aftertaste on my tongue (which I can now feel since I’m not as distracted by the throat burning) which I believe is the stevia. I have actual no reason to believe it is the stevia though. It could be the skullcap, St. John’s wort or valerian root, all of which (like the stevia) I have never had before. But that sweet scent and mid-taste (which hits the center of my tongue – right where the aftertaste is) seems to be stevia-related so that’s what I’m going with.

And yet I’m still drinking this tea. I have no idea why. Why am I still drinking this tea? Apparently the sweetness – even with the burning and weird aftertastes and whatnot – is kind of enjoyable. Yay sweetness. But it’s really not worth the rest of this tea. Actually, even the sweet isn’t worth it if it is causing that weird feeling on my tongue. Like a thin metallic coat of paint.

Yeah, I’m not going to drink this tea anymore. I made it through two-thirds but no more. I offered the husband the last third of my tea. He was smarter than me. He took one sip, made a surprised/pleased face (I think when he had the chamomile and then sweet) and then that quickly changed to this… horrified/surprised look and he handed the cup back to me. His response, “I kind of want to vomit to get the taste out.”

I feel like I already have.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

Wow. I will be staying far, far away from this!


That is so gross. I can’t believe you made it even that far. I think after a few sips, I would have just tossed it. Brave, brave Auggy!


Ah, I almost bought this…sounds awful! I’m still looking for a good bedtime tea, if anyone has any recommendations. I tried the bedtime tea by Bigelow and it was sour (hibiscus…bleh).


Shanti, try Ocean of Wisdom by Samovar or Caramelized Pear by Art of Tea! Both rooibos, but both used to perfection. CP doesn’t even taste like rooibos, and OoW has some lovely chai-type notes in it. Both are extremely calming.


Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew.

I hate the post-vomit burn feeling.


ive tried this tea b4 when i was having trouble sleeping…its disgusting i took 3 sips and dumped it! Auggy i think you hit every flavor note on the head with this one because i tasted almost the same thing (i added sugar to mine…didnt help)


This is a brave, brave review. I’m not that brave and I’ll be avoiding this tea. (Unless someone has a fantastic experience with it.)


This is deeply disturbing. I will definitely go nowhere near it. Ack. :P


erm…no thanks. your husband is too funny.


@Shanti, this tea is very sweet with no bitterness. And looking at the other reviews, some people liked it so maybe you wouldn’t hate it. My instinct says that if I was more used to artificial tasting sweeteners, I wouldn’t have hated this so much. Maybe. Or maybe not.

@Kitch3ntools, Yay! I’m not insane! I seriously am blaming the stevia for the nastiness this tea has.

@Lena, the hubby actually pulled some milk out of the fridge so he could get rid of the burning throat feeling. I stole a few sips and it helped!

Tina Peterson

I absolutely love this tea. I wonder if it’s the stevia that your tasting? It can be bitter tasting at least it is to me when added to something.

I have an illness that affects my sleep at night and I sleep like a baby with this tea. I take it about an hour before bedtime and drift right off to sleep. And I’m so rested!!

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drank Lung Ching by Golden Dragon
911 tasting notes

I just got a lovely box from teaplz full of some fun teas. I have no idea why I decided to start with this one – I suppose I’m feeling brave enough to give teaplz’s ‘Dragonhell’ a try!

The leaves… are not so pretty. Broken and sort of old and sad looking. Poor little leaves.

Pouring the tea into the cup, the smell is kind of nice. Nutty and not bitter. The taste is weird. The first sip I was thinking “Hey, that’s not so bad.” And then I finished the sip and there was this… weird taste just expanded in my mouth. Saltiness maybe? Or a nutty bitterness?

As the tea cools a bit, there is a slight hint of sweetness and then that nutty bitterness that was showing up after the sip shows up in the middle of the sip. Though honestly, it tastes a bit better when I take larger sips. There’s a bit of sweetness to it. It’s more of a taunt though, not a substantial sweetness. Just a hint of “I could be better, see, but this is what you get.” Maybe a really low temp will make this one happy.

Overall, the tea isn’t horrible but it doesn’t have that much redeeming social value. It’s just sort of meh.

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec

AHHH ohemgee. I am stupidly excited that you have actually tried a tea that I have sent you! Like, bouncing off the walls excited.

Dragonhell! We pretty much had the same reaction to this one. I think it’s less than “meh” and sort of “eh.” I guess you decided to start with the worst (hopefully oh man, I hope there’s nothing worse than this in there waiting for you!).


Yay! I’m glad to try tea you sent me too!

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drank Tanyang Gongfu by PuerhShop.com
911 tasting notes

I had pretty much forgotten all about this one. But I’ve been moving some tins around and the short little tin I have this in finally poked out a bit, reminding me of its existence. I remember this being a nice if not overly special tea, which could be why I had forgotten about it.

But how did I forget about how pretty it was? Long, thin, dark leaves with shoots of golden laced throughout. The picture on the tea info doesn’t look as pretty as my leaves do, though perhaps because my leaves are in a brass colored tin and that really brings out the gold bits… Who cares for the reason why, though. It’s just so pretty.

Now that I’m drinking this, I’m not sure why I thought it was so unexceptional. It’s actually very busy taste-wise. Not stressfully busy – it just has a lot of lovely tastes mixing together. Earthy and sweet, it has a slightly heavier body than I remembered. Perhaps because I made two cups up whereas I think I’ve only done single cups in the past (the husband is working from home today and has a scratchy throat so I made him some tea)? There is a sweet taste that occurs right after I swallow but before I open my mouth after the swallow. It’s almost like the aftertaste of cane or maple syrup. The aftertaste of the tea, however, is very earthy and very tea-like. (Go figure).

There’s a lot going on with this tea. I’m surprised I’ve not really noticed that before. I’m thinking I actually made it a little stronger than I have in the past (more leaf) and that’s making the complexity more noticeable. Mostly, there’s a lot of different sweet flavors going on. Fruity sweet, sugary sweet, earthy sweet. It’s quite pretty.

But even with all those tastes going on, it’s not an aggressive tasting tea. It’s very pleasant and relaxing and mellow. I’m thinking it is the mellowness this evokes (vs. the wow factor other teas with this complexity might have) that what made me forget about this tea. And the husband likes it too – he managed to empty his cup before I did!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Interesting. I’m slowly learning that I really love complex teas, where each flavor reveals itself in each sip. And yay for rediscovering a random tea!

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No vendor directions on brewing, but since this has green in it, I went with that. The leaf smells berry-ier than I anticipated. Berries over a campfire maybe? Which would probably smell a bit more like burning so maybe just eating berries next to a campfire. Sometimes the berry seems to dominate, sometimes the campfire. But even when the campfire dominates, it’s a sweet campfire because of the berry under-note. I can’t really pick out the vanilla but that’s probably because it is blending with the berry, giving it kind of a creamy berry smell instead of a tart berry smell.

Once brewed though, the tea seems to decide to let the lapsang souchong smell have center stage, but the berry scent is still a big supporting character. Though it does seem to also show of the… fake-ness of the berry. It also smells a little cough syrup-y. Almost. I think the vanilla creamy saves it from that.

Sipping is… odd. The flavor seems to rapidly seesaw between sweet smoky and sweet berry (thankfully no cough syrup memories are being evoked – in fact it tastes more natural than the tea smells). The flavors seem to work nicely together though. It’s weird but it works. There is distinct berry and distinct smoke but both are sweet and that sweetness ties them together.

The aftertaste in particular reminds me of something I can’t peg but that something makes me think that this would be a good iced tea. So perhaps it reminds me of some flavored bottled tea I’ve had? But without the artificial sweetners added because this yea is pretty sweet by itself. It actually tastes likes I’ve put a bit of sugar in it already.

Now here’s the one thing that keeps me from loving this tea. I’m just not a huge berry-flavoring fan. I love strawberries and blackberries, but after that I’m kind of eh. And this is more of a raspberry taste. However, the husband loves raspberries so I had him try some of this. He was able to pick out the berry and the lapsang souchong almost instantly. After a few more sips he said that he could see himself enjoying a big ole hot mug of this though he had a slight concern that the smoky would build and he doesn’t really like lapsang souchong (from my cup I didn’t notice any build up so I don’t think that would be a problem).

Anyway, he gave it a 4/5 stars to my 3/5 stars. But my rating drops that one star just because of the type of berry. As far as the slider rating goes, this one is tough. I like how the flavors work together and I really do think the balance is quite nice so it rates rather high on that. But personally, I’m not in love with the tea because of the type of berry and that’s all on me. But this is my rating scale so I’m going to rate it on the subjective, personal side of things instead of the objective side of things. Because that’s how I roll.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

This sounds like something I would enjoy. My black powder blend has really made me appreciate lapsang in blends much more than lapsang on its own. Plain lapsang just tastes like something’s missing for me now. I’ve never considered pairing it with something fruity before. Interesting.
(Psssst! What happens november 5th? I have suspicion I should know this…)


The sweet tastes worked really well together though I’m with you – I’d never have thought of it… it just doesn’t seem like it should go.
And no worries about the date thing… they told us at the tea shop but I had to look it up again – not a part of history I am familiar with! It was a failed plot to kill King James I of England in 1605 which is now known as Guy Fawkes Night.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plot and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_Night


Guy Fawkes! Of course. I knew I should know. I just had an anglophile-fail there, I think.
Maybe I’ll try spicing some of my fruity teas up now.


Hee, I tend to roll subjectively, too. Berries and lapsang souchong sounds…interesting? Also sounds surprisingly November-y, though.


It’s also a relevant date for V for Vendetta. ;)


@Jillian HAH! Now you’ve got me thinking, “Hmm…dark and smoky with a slash of red from the raspberry. Interesting.”

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In my morning fogged brain, it is always an adventure picking out teas. Mostly because my thought processes don’t work well so making any sort of decision is challenging work. This morning there were two factors that made me pick this: 1) My first thought was of Jackee Muntz but the husband is not a huge fan of Keemuns so I didn’t want to waste the caramel loveliness on him since he wouldn’t appreciate it and 2) Teaplz had this yesterday so we’ll call that the power of suggestion.

The smell of the leaves (both dry and wet) is just… wrong. Sour, bitter, strong… wrong. But the tea itself is fine. A bit too mild in fact. I normally have it with sugar to combat the sometimes tumbler-created-tea-bitterness but today went without and it was just fine.

In my view, this tea needs two things. 1) Better smelling leaves – because that turns me off so much that I just anticipate nastiness when I drink and I should never feel the need to brace myself before a first sip. And 2) More flavor. The tea taste is mild to the point of almost watery tasting, the rose taste is mild to the point of just general sweetness. Something needs to come to the forefront on this tea. Some flavor, any flavor, needs to take charge and say “I will flavor this tea!!!” But it doesn’t. Oh well.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Yay for being inspirational! And yeah, this one is very, very mild. You pretty much had the same reaction as me. It’s not bad, per se. It’s more of a meh thing. But not bad meh! Merely average meh.


I think if the leaves didn’t smell so horrid I might like this one more. But the smell just makes me cringe!

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drank Imperial Formosa by Golden Moon Tea
911 tasting notes

Overall I’m not a huge fan of dark oolongs since they always remind me of cigar smoke but it’s in my sample basket so I’ll give it a shot!

This one so far is pretty typical of my experience with them. There is a sweet and somewhat smoky smell that makes think of cigar smoke. Not bad cigar smoke really. But cigar smoke. The taste is where this is different, though. It doesn’t taste like cigar smoke. Instead, it’s more of a fruity sweet. I can’t figure out what type of fruit but maybe peach? It’s not any of the things they list in the company’s tea notes – in fact I can’t pick up any of those. Yeah, even trying to pick those things out, I can’t find them. But it’s still good. Smooth, sweet and a little roast-y.

I wasn’t anticipating liking this very much but this is enjoyable. Probably a high 3/5 stars… not quite a 4 but it’s pretty close and might be bumped with subsequent steeps. We shall see.

ETA: The second steep turned out to be more cigar sweet even in taste so this one stays at a 3star. Minor adjustment to the rating made.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Darjeeling Tea by Golden Moon Tea
911 tasting notes

I just finished watching The Darjeeling Limited so I thought I’d pull this out to try. Not that the movie had anything to do with the tea, but eh.

This smells very sharply nutty. Taste-wise, there is a little sharpness and brightness but overall it is an unimpressive Darjeeling. S’not bad though. Maybe a good starter Darjeeling or something. It is inoffensive but is a good general representation of how Darjeelings are supposed to taste.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Yuzu Sencha by Samovar
911 tasting notes

I actually bought a yuzu in preparation for this tea. After all, how can I comment on a flavored tea if I don’t know what the flavor is supposed to taste like? I ate my yuzu early this morning so thought today was a great time to try this one. I enjoyed the fruit so I hope to enjoy this tea. The tea doesn’t smell quite like fresh yuzu, but it is still noticeably yuzu. The brewed tea smells even less like yuzu – the initial smell is of fresh, vegetal sencha and there’s a little tingle of yuzu underneath.

The taste is intriguing. I didn’t get a noticeable yuzu flavor until I took a few sips one after the other. It seems like the yuzu taste builds but seems to come through the most in the aftertaste. But now I’m getting it some on the very tip of my tongue as I begin to sip. It’s a surprisingly good counterpoint to the sencha. I wouldn’t have thought the yuzu would go well with the sweet, buttery and vegetal taste of the sencha, but it does. It adds a subtle citrus sharpness that keeps the sencha from being too rich or thick.

I’m not quite sure how to rate this. I keep expecting this to taste rich and thick but each sip surprises me with a clean, refreshing citrus flavor. So I can’t quite figure out how high I want to rate this. Somewhere in between the two green smileys but not sure where… Though a big point it this teas favor is the aftertaste – sweet, citrus and buttery. Good stuff.

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec

I don’t know if I commented on this in my log, but I had the same initial experience as you – I didn’t get the yuzu until I’d had a few sips. I’ve never had yuzu straight, but I’ve had things that are “infused” with yuzu or maybe have bits of it, so that’s the only reason I’m familiar with it. Anyhow, I agree with you that’s an enjoyable overall tea experience.


Iv’e always wanted to try the Rishi Sencha Yuzu, http://www.rishi-tea.com/store/yuzucha-japanese-green-tea.html but I don’t want to spend 15 dollars my supermarket charges for the 2 oz can and not like the tea.


OK, I’m showing my hick-ness: what is yuzu, please and thank you kindly?


@gmathis Yuzu is a citrus fruit that is [or at least was] primarily used in Asian cuisine. It tastes distinctly citrusy, but also distinctly…different. I say this never having had it raw or even more generally, plain, so maybe Auggy or someone else can speak to that a little more eloquently. Here are some images: http://bit.ly/7KQhdh


takgoti pretty much hit it… it’s like a wrinkly, sticky tangerine (I’m guessing there is more oil in the peel or something?) with HUGE seeds in the segments. The one I had wasn’t overly meaty (but then the segments were clementine sized and had 2 – 3 seeds the size of a pencil eraser so there wasn’t a lot of room for the fruit flesh either) but I’m not 100% sure if what I had was a great representation of the fruit as my grocery store only had a small section of them ($9.99/lbs!) but it tasted good so I figure it was an okay example at the very least. If it weren’t so freakin expensive I’d probably have yuzu again… but with one fruit costing about $4, I’m okay having tangerines.


@Auggy Yuzu’s just sliding out of season now for the U.S., as specialty growers tend to wind down in late December. What’s interesting about this fruit too is that the flavour changes over the course of each season, as does the external colour of the fruit. So you might taste one at the beginning of the season that’s totally ripe, but tastes differently than one eaten later in the season. Related, but different. It also depends on how cold it’s gotten wherever it is that your yuzu came from. They’re extremely cold-weather-hardy trees, so many people all over the US have attempted to grow them (cold-weather-hardy citrus is not that common). Unfortunately, there’s a compromise—-just because the trees will withstand the cold weather doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily produce the best examples of the fruit. Fruits from cold-ravaged trees are often more bitter than fruits from trees that haven’t been treated so harshly by Mother nature. FWIW, I hope this helps. :)


Wow! That’s fascinating. And it pretty much guarantees that I’ll have to try yuzu again to see what differences I can taste. Thanks!

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I’m trying to be a better tea logger and actually post semi-regularly again! I’ve let my tea tasting senses become too complacent – it’s time for some focused and attentive tea drinking!

Sometimes my notices for PMs and such have been questionable. Email me at your own risk at aug3zimm at gmail dot com.

1 – 10 – Bleck. Didn’t finish the cup.
11 – 25 – Drinkable. But don’t punish me by making me have it again.
26 – 40 – Meh. Most likely will see if the husband likes it iced.
41 – 60 – Okayish. Maybe one day I’ll kill off what I have in my pantry.
61 – 75 – Decent. I might pick some up if I needed tea.
76 – 85 – Nice. I’d probably buy but wouldn’t hunt it down.
86 – 100 – Yum! I will hunt down the vendor to get this tea!

Not that anyone but me particularly cares, but there it is.





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